Fly Away Home
It's that time of year when weekend newspapers are jam packed
with back to school flyers featuring the latest in clothes and
supplies. I remember Eugene and me heading for the shops, our three
kids in tow. This is the first August in two decades we have no
offspring going back into the public school system. You may very well
be getting your kids ready. As you do, though, I'd like to remind you
many of our nation's children will start their educational experience
without even that most basic entity, a home, like Andrew, the narrator
of Eve Bumting's classic (only one year younger than my grad school
daughter) Fly Away Home.
Andrew and his janitor father long for a place of their own.
But they must live in an airport. There is always the danger of being
noticed and caught. They've seen others busted. They have to be
especially alert in the dead hours between two and four in the morning
when most of us have the luxury of sleeping. Dad studies the ads in
newspapers thrown away by travelers and makes phone calls. Rents are
always beyond their reach.
Young children are more capable of empathy than a lot of people
give them credit for. If you teach or parent any Fly Away Home is a
perfect read aloud (Bunting's status may have it in your library or
available by inter library loan) which can be followed by a discussion
of familiar daily routines and how much more difficult they would be
without a consistent set of sheltering walls. These days this kind of
exercise is more important than ever when politicians like Maine's
governor, Paul LePage, are demonizing the poor, robbing them of
dignity as well as resources.
Beyond empathy, are there things your family can do in
connection with your faith community, an organization, or even a group
of friends? In addition to kids who are homeless there may be
children who are food insecure, lacking in supplies and resources, or
needing help in keeping up with classwork or a safe place when a
single parent works unpredictable hours. Remember it takes a
community. I can't think of an endeavor with a better ROI (return on
investment) than children's lives.
On a personal note, my son is in the middle of his two week intensive
firefighter academy. Saturday they learned how to rescue accident
victims from vehicles. He described with great relish how they took
apart junker vehicles getting familiar with tools like the jaws of life.
A great big shout out goes out to those fine young people and their
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod